How You Play The Game

(Originally posted on July 18, 2012)

Being an ambitious and driven person it has been results I’ve focused on most for the majority of my life. I suppose that will never completely change. However in recent years I’ve learned to have a lot of respect for my effort. Being able to accurately see when I have “done my best” has become a healthy benchmark and a boost to my self-esteem. It took a lot of failures to discover giving something all I had to give was ultimately what matters most.

Was my effort toward what I was trying to accomplish the best I had to give at the time? Being able to ask that question and truthfully answer it has been a sizeable alteration of my vantage point. Now I know doing my absolute best puts me in a place where I own no one, especially myself, an apology or excuse.  My best is ALWAYS enough.  Giving all I have to something is an accomplishment within itself.

There is a positive bent to realizing all is not lost if I don’t win the battle. What matters is having the strength to try with all I know to do, to fight for my objective and face the possibility of falling short; of being defeated. If all I do is put a gold star by my name each time I master something or fully accomplish it, so much due credit will be lacking. Some of my greatest and most elegant struggles were for things I never completed or fully accomplished. Giving myself praise for effort lights my self-esteem up and recognizes I am what I do, not just what I accomplish.

My brain used to be like Velcro only for my full and rare successes.  I made them stick so I could wallow in them as long as I could.  My thoughts were like Teflon for what I failed doing or succeeding at.  I refused to let falling short stick to me and wanted to forget as fast as I possibly could.

Of course I still like completely realizing an objective but the fact of its accomplishment has the most joy when I don’t dwell on it. When I stopped hiding my failures, things got better.  Being pleased with “me” all the times I did my very best, but fell short or did not complete what I had started gave me a lot more to be proud of. It turned out how I kept score internally matters a lot!  A corny, but true saying describes well what I have come to know first hand:  “It’s not if you win or lose, but how you play the game!”

So here I am today readily able to give myself full credit for a lot of time and effort diligently put into a failure. It’s the struggle that matters; the amount of heart and soul I put into my effort that has become an improved self-judgment yardstick. And I am far better for it and grateful for the perspective that allows me to see things that way.

There are defeats more triumphant than victories.
Michel de Montaigne

About James Browning

A seeker working to grow each day and be a better version of my self. Through sharing I commit myself deeper to my ideals and beliefs.
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